Wednesday, November 22, 2017

You wanted my trifle recipes? Here they are.


In a comment to my previous post, reader Deborah Harvey asked for the recipe I was using to make trifle for Thanksgiving.  I ended up making two, one with alcohol and one without, the latter being for kids, and those who may have to drive after the meal.  I'll provide both recipes.  They're how my mother used to make trifle in South Africa when I was growing up.  They're based on traditional English recipes, with colonial variations.  I'm using fruit and alcohol more readily available here in the USA.


1.  Non-alcoholic fruit trifle.
You will need:
  • A container, preferably glass, about 9"-10" round and 6"-8" deep.
  • A sponge cake to fit in the bottom of the container, either whole or broken into pieces;  alternatively, ladyfinger biscuits.  I prefer not to use pound cake, as I think it affects the flavor;  but YMMV, of course.
  • A one-pound tin of canned apricot halves, preferably in natural (i.e. non-sugared) syrup.
  • A one-pound tin of fruit cocktail, preferably ditto.
  • One box/packet of orange Jell-o or equivalent.
  • One box/packet of lemon Jell-o or equivalent.
  • Custard powder of your choice, enough to make 2 pints, plus the necessary ingredients for it (sugar, milk, etc.)
  • 2-3 cups heavy cream, suitable for whipping.  I prefer to make more rather than less, because if you have too much, you can always discard it or use it for something else;  but if you have too little, your trifle will be incomplete.
  • A jar of Maraschino cherries.
Method:
  1. Put the sponge cake or ladyfingers in the bottom of the glass bowl, spreading them out evenly to cover the area completely.
  2. Drain the apricot halves, reserving the syrup.  Place the halves face-down on the sponge cake, spacing them evenly across the bottom.
  3. Drain the fruit cocktail, reserving the syrup.  Spread the fruit pieces over and around the apricot halves, making sure to produce a level surface.
  4. Combine the two packets of Jell-o and prepare according to directions.  Use the fruit syrup reserved in steps 2 and 3 as part of the cold water to produce the finished product.
  5. Pour the Jello-and-fruit-syrup mixture over the sponge cake and fruit in the bottom of the bowl, using just enough to come to the top of the layer of fruit, but not completely submerge it.  Either discard the rest of the Jell-o mixture, or chill it in other containers for other uses.
  6. Make the custard according to directions.  Spread a layer of custard approximately 1" thick over the fruit (thicker if you prefer).  Use a ladle to spread it slowly and evenly, so as not to disrupt the layer beneath it.
  7. At this point, if the depth of the bowl allows it, you can make a second layer of sponge cake or ladyfingers, fruit, Jell-o, and custard. If it's not deep enough for that, that's OK.  Remember to chill the bottom layers, to set the Jell-o and custard, before you add more warm Jell-o above them!  This can be tricky, so be careful.
  8. Put the trifle in the fridge to chill.  It works well if you do all the steps so far the previous evening, chill it overnight, then finish making it the following morning.
  9. After the trifle has chilled, whip the cream as long as necessary to produce thick, sturdy peaks.  Spread the whipped cream in an even layer over the custard layer (I usually try to make the layers equally thick, but that's a matter of taste).
  10. Decorate the whipped cream layer with maraschino cherries.  Serve, and enjoy.

2.  Alcoholic fruit trifle.
You will need:
  • A container, preferably glass, about 9"-10" round and 6"-8" deep.
  • A sponge cake to fit in the bottom of the container, either whole or broken into pieces; alternatively, ladyfinger biscuits.  I prefer not to use pound cake, as I think it affects the flavor;  but YMMV, of course.
  • A pound of fresh blackberries, and a pound of fresh raspberries.  (If you wish, you can substitute berries of your preference, such as blueberries or strawberries;  just make sure they work with the liqueur you plan to use.)
  • Custard powder of your choice, enough to make 2 pints, plus the necessary ingredients for it (sugar, milk, etc.)
  • 2-3 cups heavy cream, suitable for whipping.  I prefer to make more rather than less, because if you have too much, you can always discard it or use it for something else;  but if you have too little, your trifle will be incomplete.
  • A jar of Maraschino cherries.
  • Alcohol of your choice.  Sherry or port is traditional for use in trifles, but I've also made them with brandy, rum, and bourbon.  Use good quality liquor!  The cheap stuff just doesn't taste as good.  Also, pick a liqueur in which to marinate your berries, whatever they may be.  Not all liqueurs will taste good with all berries, so pick a combination that works for you.  For the trifle I just made, I marinated the fruit in a brandy-based liqueur.
Method:
  1. Put the berries into liqueur and let them marinate for an hour or so.  I suggest putting them in separate bowls, because the flavor of each combination will be different, and this helps to preserve it.
  2. Put the sponge cake or ladyfingers in the bottom of the glass bowl, spreading them out evenly to cover the area completely.
  3. Take about half a cup of port or sherry (or your chosen liqueur) and sprinkle it over the sponge cake or ladyfingers, wetting but not soaking them.  (If you want to use more, you can, but you don't want the alcohol to overpower the other flavors, so be cautious.)
  4. Drain about half of the berries, using a slotted spoon, and spread them in a layer across the sponge cake or ladyfingers.
  5. Make the custard according to directions.  Spread a layer of custard approximately 1" thick over the fruit (thicker if you prefer).  Use a ladle to spread it slowly and evenly, so as not to disrupt the layer beneath it.
  6. At this point, if the depth of the bowl allows it, you can make a second layer of sponge cake or ladyfingers, liqueur, fruit, and custard.  If it's not deep enough for that, that's OK.
  7. Put the trifle in the fridge to chill.  It works well if you do all the steps so far the previous evening, chill it overnight, then finish making it the following morning.
  8. After the trifle has chilled, whip the cream as long as necessary to produce thick, sturdy peaks.  Spread the whipped cream in an even layer over the custard layer (I usually try to make the layers equally thick, but that's a matter of taste).
  9. Decorate the whipped cream layer with maraschino cherries.  Serve, and enjoy.

There you have it.  I think they work very well.  Of course, trifle lends itself to endless adaptation, so you can play with the recipes as you see fit, substituting your own ingredients in place of mine, adding more, or whatever.

My two trifles are now chilling in the fridge, prior to having the final cream layer added tomorrow morning.  Miss D. and I just have to resist the temptation to sample them, to see how they came out!

Peter

4 comments:

deborah harvey said...

thank you.
since we never had tinned apricots i am pretty sure mum made it with tinned peaches, but no fruit cocktail.

i'm thinking raspberries with raspberry chambord.
for my left coast pansies--husband and daughter-- a tofu cashew based custard, for me it is bird's custard powder with cow milk.
then, for me, real whipped cream and for them whatever vegetarians use.
sounds so good.
daughter and i will use king arthur gluten free cake mix as a base.

all i remember is that trifle is one of the princes among desserts.
think we'll try it this Christmas.
mum was a kid when the war started and thereafter lived a life of oleo and dried milk [yuck to both of those] as she actually thought the tasted better! war is destructive both to nations and to taste buds.

Anonymous said...

If you mix a little instant vanilla pudding in with your cream when you whip, it will never fall or return to a liquid... works great if you want more working/storage time for deserts made with whipped cream. It will last a week or two in the fridge.

deborah harvey said...

anonymous, the powder or the already made?
thanks for the tip.

Scott H said...

A bit of unflavored gelatin mixed in with the cream as you whip will also prevent falling. You dissolve it in an roughly equal amount of hot water first. This is the standard stabilized whipped cream recipe that you can find on the net.